BECOMING A NEW CHAPTER
The following post was written by guest blogger Sarah Dilday, Beta Phi–Valparaiso University.
At the start of my second year of college, I stepped onto campus looking for new opportunities to get more involved in the already small community of Valparaiso University. I walked into my first Alpha Gam event, not knowing a month later I would be running there for Bid Day.
During the recruitment process, I found a group of women I pictured myself growing, learning and laughing with. After four months of surrounding myself with the women of Alpha Gam, I saw myself transform as a leader, philanthropist, woman and friend.
Our new member class—the official founding members of Beta Phi—continues to be a close-knit group as we face the challenges of being a new chapter together. Despite these challenges, we appreciate the opportunity of shaping our chapter’s legacy.
If you’re considering joining a new chapter—or have just joined one—here are three essentials every new chapter should utilize in order to thrive:
The women in our chapter are there now because of the hard work and tireless efforts of our Leadership Consultants. Our LC sisters are the ones who brought the chapter together and their continuous support has allowed us to thrive. Throughout this entire process, I’ve found they are the true embodiment of Alpha Gamma Delta’s ideals. It is precisely why my Beta Phi sisters and I are drawn to them, because—in the end—we are drawn to Alpha Gam.
Sisters who have your back (literally)
While our LCs brought the chapter together, it was our newly found sisterhood that made our chapter a safe space to be authentically ourselves. The first sisterhood retreat—ever—for the Beta Phi Chapter was held at a ropes course. This included two potentially intimidating things: bonding with new people and heights.
I learned through those short four hours that heights may be scary, but sisters can help. I barely knew these women when the day began, but I quickly learned my sisters are motivators, cheerleaders and adventure buddies. By the end of the day, I had worked through the hardest obstacle with my sisters by my side. The rest of the new chapter process was less daunting after facing such heights.
Open minds and open hearts
Building a new chapter at a school with five established sorority chapters seemed like an intimidating task at first, but our Panhellenic chapters have repeatedly made us feel included in the Valpo community—they even learned our chants for our first Bid Day and gave us encouraging gifts during our first recruitment! At the same time, this previously unknown, completely new experience has been exhilarating for every member. As Beta Phi’s first Chapter President, every day I am faced with a challenge. Yet, every day, I find my sisters by my side leading Alpha Gam in their own way.
Abby Seeber, one of my chapter sisters, describes our new chapter perfectly: “We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we take Alpha Gam seriously.” We always pride ourselves on our authenticity and passion for Alpha Gamma Delta.
While Valpo may have created a space for a new chapter on campus, the Beta Phi women have created a space that is a home away from home. As our sisterhood multiplies, so will the list of our lessons to be learned and, more importantly, our memories to be made.
I am so humbled and proud to be part of this story.